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YouTube is introducing handles, but top YouTubers get first dibs

Updated Oct 19th, 2022 10:44AM EDT
YouTube is introducing handles.
Image: YouTube

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Most online platforms, from Twitter and Facebook to Twitch and Steam, ask users to create unique usernames or handles to identify themselves. YouTube was one of the few significant holdouts, but in the coming weeks, that’s going to change. On Monday, YouTube announced that handles are coming to the video sharing platform.

Unlike channel names, every channel will have its own unique @handle. The handle that you choose will appear on your channel page as well as on any Shorts you post. YouTube says that this will make it easier to mention other users in comments, community posts, and descriptions. Shouting out collaborators will be a breeze with handles.

If you publish videos on YouTube, you’re probably wondering when you can secure your new handle. YouTube says that creators will be notified over the next month when they can pick a handle for their channel and receive a matching URL.

If a channel already has a personalized URL, that will automatically become its handle. Users will have the option to change their handles as soon as they receive a notification in YouTube Studio. The rollout will be gradual, and the timing of your turn depends on “overall YouTube presence, subscriber count and whether the channel is active or inactive.”

Here are some more details about the rollout from the YouTube support team:

Since we have billions of channels on YouTube, we can’t flip a switch and have everyone choose a handle at the same time. Because handles must be unique and every channel on YouTube will have one, we’re rolling them out gradually. The timing of when a creator will get access to the handles selection process depends on a number of factors, including overall YouTube presence, subscriber count and whether the channel is active or inactive. Everyone will have the option to choose a handle by November 14 at the latest.

According to the Google support site, YouTube will start assigning handles automatically for any users that haven’t chosen one by November 14. You once needed 100 subscribers to get a custom URL, but YouTube is scrapping that requirement.

More coverage: YouTube’s experiment to charge users for 4K video quality has failed.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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